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Letter: Sea burial ‘sustainable’ option

Thursday 6 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Sea burial ‘sustainable’ option

Dear Editor, In response to the article in Cook Islands News, May 4 edition “Health ministry to regulate sea burials after public concerns”.

The statement that “we have found that most of those buried in our ocean are ‘foreigners’”, will be very objectionable to many people on the Island.

We can recall many burials at sea of those we knew as “locals”, most of whom lived and worked on this island for 50 or more years, running successful businesses and contributing hugely – with both time and money – to the islands and the community. But they become “foreigners” when it suits politicians.

Burial at sea is a personal choice, it is practical and has a lower environmental impact than traditional burial or cremation. For many, it is a choice made as a green solution to what is becoming a huge problem on the island (and the world) – using up valuable land space for concrete graves and resource-heavy expensive wooden coffins.

And it’s not just about the space – traditional burial leads to the production of ions, in the form of organic and heavy metals, bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which spread along with the soil and groundwater. The soil and groundwater contamination caused during the decomposition of corpses by necroleachates, can have a decided influence in the pollution of the soil. Especially when there are a large number of graves together, and especially when they are close to streams or the lagoon – we live on a small island and we eat the food we plant in its soil.

So, with a community-minded approach to protecting our immediate environment, where would you rather be buried?

D & F Dorrell